Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/481

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By Professor LEON J. COLE


NO attempt is made in the present paper to present a new array of facts nor to treat them in a novel light—even the title which has been chosen is not new, except perhaps in the arrangement of the words. But race improvement is a broad field, the cultivation of which is barely begun, and as in all cases when a new territory is to be occupied, a survey of the ground is of primary importance. Such a survey helps us in the formulation of definite plans for the systematic development of the land and saves much effort which might otherwise be misdirected. In what follows an attempt has been made to mark out some of the delimitations of our territory, the character of the soil, and consequently what crops—what lines of endeavor—may best be expected to succeed.

It is unfortunately true that a rich soil is equally suited to the growth of the grain or the weeds, the wheat or the tares. The harvest accords to the quality of the seed sown and to the diligence and intelligence applied to uprooting the undesirable plants. And just so it is with society. So long as we permit the marriage and the reproduction of the unfit in human society, we are countenancing the contamination of the seed which stands for the human crop of the next generation. The seed which we use must either be relatively free from weeds or we must put it through a winnowing process.

Every agriculturist knows the importance of continued cultivation in order to keep his land relatively free from weeds. A field allowed to go without attention or even kept down to a meadow for only a few years, soon "runs to weeds" to such an extent that the only procedure is to plow it under and put on some strong-growing crop, which will "kill out the weeds." In how far are these conditions comparable to those of our physical, moral, social and civic life? And if they are comparable, are we giving the attention we should to the winnowing of the seed? We shall also, of course, have to devote our attention to how this winnowing may best be accomplished.

Let me then be the surveyor who shall endeavor to map out our field, to determine its limits and demarkations and its relation to the neighboring fields on either side. Furthermore, let me try to chart its general physical features in an endeavor to ascertain how it may best be cultivated.